Nocturnes - a healing vigil




"“ For most of us, cancer is a bogeyman who lives in another land and we give him little heed, until one day he turns up at our house and moves in without ceremony. Everything is changed utterly.” – Patrick Walshe 2015.

This was the starting point for a series of fourteen “Nocturnes” which Patrick Walshe created as a response to the journey of treatment his wife underwent. The helplessness of the onlooker, the worry that overtakes a spouse at 4am waking rigid with fear and anxiety, was translated into these paintings which are the night prayers of the fellow traveller on this enforced emotional journey. It was a way expressing all the hopes, worries and minor triumphs that are ubiquitous to all those who travel this road.
When eventually a happy outcome was arrived at and the final painting, “Return of the Dawn Chorus” had been completed, Patrick Walshe donated the series to the benefit of The Keating Foundation, a survivors charity.


View a U.S. television interview about the Nocturnes cycle









(I) Dark Night Cold Ground


(III) I Went Down to the River


(II) Hope for Happiness










(V) Spinning Not Dancing


(IV) Zen Church on Sunday
(VI) The Beautiful Thing About You

Since we are what we are, what shall we be

But what we are? We are, we have

Six feet and seventy years, to see

The light and then release it for the grave.

We are not worlds, no, nor infinity,

We have no claims on stone, except to prove

In the invention of the city

Our hearts, our intellect, our love.

Stephen Spender 1943









(VII) You Haven't Cried Today
(VIII) A Moon Over You
(IX) Can You Find Your Way From Here












(X) A Friend Arrives With Flowers
(XI) The World From a Tunnel











(XII) The PathTowards Home
(XIV) Return of the Dawn Chorus


(XIII)"There are no Whys Here"





















The fourteen Nocturnes are 60cm square paintings.A Nocturne is part of the night time monastic prayer cycle.This gives the consecutive paintings their narrative identity.

All consist of oil paints on silver leaf which has been applied to the canvas as a ground, thereby creating a three dimensional quality which is greatly affected by lighting and the relative positional aspect of the viewer.

Click on the individual images to expand